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Acer Veriton M460 - Acer Veriton M460
As a case design the Veriton M460 is predictably simple, but nonetheless it feels well put together and not unattractive either. Finished predominantly in a gunmetal grey it features hidden optical drive bays, with lots of large and friendly buttons that aren't at all fiddly to operate. Rather like the Dell XPS 420 there's also a rubberised platform on the top of the case, which can be used to store odds and sods such as USB keys and other detritus and is really quite useful.
Measuring 18cm wide, 44.15cm deep and 36.7cm, the system should fit easily under any standard office desk, especially those with spaces designated for mini tower cases such as this. On the front there's plenty of connectivity, with three USB ports and a full set of memory card reader slots taking up one of the external 3.5 inch bays. With a standard DVD+/-RW optical drive taking up one 5.25 inch bay, this leaves one of each bay size open for adding extra devices such as tape drives or an additional optical drive.
Moving to the back of the machine you'll find a good mixture of modern and legacy connections. This means you get two PS/2 ports for a keyboard and mouse, along with Parallel and Serial connections as well. After these you'll find four more USB ports, bringing the total up to seven and all the usual ports such as Ethernet and audio outputs. One thing that is lacking is FireWire and though this isn't readily in use in offices if it's something you require this system probably isn't for you.
Internally there's some space for expansion, with two free PCI slots and a single x1 PCI Express bay, though this is partially obstructed by the graphics card that's sitting in the x16 PCI Express bay. It's also worth noting that the optical drive in our system was connected via SATA, so there is one less SATA connection available were you wanting to add extra hard drives.
Moreover, getting hard drives in and out is tad tricky due to the bays exiting out into the case rather than out of the side, which would make it a lot easier. That said this isn't the kind of system that's likely to be customised all that often, if at all. This is underlined by the fact that there are only two memory slots, both of which are taken up by 1GB DDR2 modules.
Also not of especial importance are the peripherals, which are about as cheap and simple as you're likely to find. Though the mouse is perfectly reasonable, the keyboard is distinctly ordinary thanks to some woolly feeling keys that provide little in the way of feedback. Some media shortcut keys do add a little extra value, but for prolonged office work you'll want to invest in something a little more durable and pleasurable to use.